The Cilento National Park
The Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park is the jewel of this region. UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site. It is renowned for the richness of its cultural and natural elements, its beauties and variegated landscapes, its vegetation and fauna. All of this make it one of the most important examples of the Mediterranean ecosystem.
The Cilento National Park offers many different excursions: from Camerota, Pisciotta and San Severino, notable for their medieval ruins, to archaeological places like Paestum and its temples, the archaeological excavations of Velia and Roccagloriosa. From hinterland walks discovering vegetation and fauna, to wine-and-food traditions that you can't miss
Vegetation in the Cilento National Park numbers about 1800 different native and spontaneous species of plants. The most important of them is Primula Palinuri. During the centuries the slow work of nature and human cooperation have created a biodiversity without parallel.
In the Cilento National Park there are animals such as otters, wolves, weasels, dormice, eagle owls, peregrine falcons and many species of fish. Fauna develops thanks to the unusual variety of the environment: coast, sea, rivers, mountains.
Some places of naturalistic interest are: WWF Oasis Bussento Caves in Morigerati, Infreschi Marine Park, Punta Licosa, Pertosa Caves, Mount Cervati, Mount Stella, the WWF Park in Persano.
Basket makers, carpenters, blacksmiths, stonemasons and ceramicists are the centrepiece of the local production. Here craftsmanship becomes art, thanks to expert handwork, a strong creative force and the great humanity of the inhabitants of the Cilento region.
It is possible to visit workshops and buy the handworks of Vallo di Diano stonemasons or stone craftsmen in Centola. You could meet wrought-iron blacksmiths in Bussento, ceramicists in Camerota, specialists in axes for shipyards or carpenters that carve chestnut and beech wood to create pipes.
The Mount Stella and Mingardo ceramicists follow the footsteps of their Magna Grecia masters, Alento basket makers fold and weave wicker, reeds, straw and thin chestnut wood leaves. It is also interesting to watch the women embroider in southern Cilento.
Cilento has a food tradition based on local produce. The Mediterranean diet is the centrepiece.
- Pulses and vegetables: Controne beans, Cicerale chickpeas, artichokes, tomatoes.
- Fruit: chestnuts, citrus fruits, Cilento white figs, whose name originates from the uniform light-yellow coloured skin of dry figs.
- Typical specialities: olive oil, buffalo mozzarella, "mozzarella co'a mortedda". The last one is kept in twigs of "mortedda" or "mortella", ancient name of myrtle. Soppressata di Gioi is a particular cold cut. At its centre there is a piece of lard.
- Seafood: menaica anchovies. This name derives from an ancient fishing technique, by rowboats called "Menaide"
- Cheese: Pecorino, Cacioricotta, Caciocavallo podolico, whose name derives from the species of cows used for its production, namely - vacche podaliche
- Wines: Doc Castel S. Lorenzo, red wine produced from Barbera grapes, and Doc Cilento, without parallel in Campania
- Typical dishes: "Ciambotta",a traditional mixed vegetable peasant dish , Lagane e chickpeas, cavatielli, Fusilli. "Maracucciata" is a recipe based on "maracuoccio", little pod, quite like pea. "Alici 'mbottunate" is a typical fish recipe.